Can Cats Eat Peanut Butter?

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You may wish to share one of your favorite snacks with your cat, but you’re unsure if you can. Peanut butter is a popular treat among humans so you may wonder: can cats eat peanut butter? Here’s what we know about cats and peanut butter.

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Is Peanut Butter Safe for Cats?

Peanut butter is safe for cats to eat. If your cat has some peanut butter and seems to love it, you can give it to them as a treat in moderation. While peanut butter is nontoxic for cats, it provides no nutritional value to your cat, so you’ll need to limit the amount of peanut butter you give your cat as a treat. 

According to veterinarians, there are some guidelines for giving your cat peanut butter as a treat. Never give your cat more than half a tablespoon twice a week. Try to avoid peanut butter with high sugar and salt values because these increase the sodium levels and the calorie count.

Never feed your cat peanut butter that contains xylitol. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that can be fatal for cats if ingested. The best choice is all-natural peanut butter with peanuts as the only ingredient.

Can Cats Eat Peanuts?

Cats should not eat peanuts. Cats don’t have molars, and therefore aren’t able to crush peanuts before swallowing the same way that we humans do. Peanuts pose a serious choking hazard to any cat attempting to eat them.

Crunchy peanut butter contains chunks of peanuts that add a little bit of crunch to the creaminess. You should avoid letting your cat have crunchy peanut butter because the pieces can easily get lodged in the throat and are a potential choking hazard. The crunchy bits may not be significant for us, but in a cat’s tiny throat, they can be dangerous.

Potential Risks With Cats and Peanut Butter

Some potential risks come with cats eating peanut butter, even though it is not toxic to them. The main issues are the ingredients in peanut butter, the calorie count, and the potential physical effects. 

Peanut butter often contains added sugar and salt, both of which are not a part of a healthy cat diet. Try to use peanut butter with lower levels of added sugar and no added salt. Don’t opt for non-peanut spreads (like cashew or macadamia) because these other nuts can be toxic for cats. 

Peanut butter is a high-calorie and low nutritional value snack for cats. Make sure that if you use this as a treat, the rest of their diet is high in nutritional value and well-rounded.

Peanut butter has a thick texture, which can lead to issues in your cat’s throat or digestive system. Never give your cat a lot of peanut butter at once, because this increases the risk of choking. In addition, if your cat seems to have digestive issues after ingesting peanut butter, they may not tolerate it well or even potentially be allergic. If your cat has any issues, add peanut butter to your do-not-feed list, and don’t give your cat peanut butter as a treat.

Can cats eat peanut butter?

Alternative Treats for Cats

Peanut butter is not toxic for cats, but it doesn’t add any nutritional value as a treat. Here are some cat treats that are a healthier alternative to peanut butter:

  • Carrots (cooked)
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Pumpkin (cooked or canned)
  • Berries

For the safety of your cat, it is best to discuss dietary needs with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet’s diet.

Kelsey Madison

Kelsey Madison is a cat lover, fostering enthusiast, part time vet tech & writer. She has fostered close to 300 animals over the last 10+ years, and currently has 3 beautiful tabby cats who love to stick their faces in her morning lattes. She is passionate about helping others develop a deeper understanding of their beloved felines and learn more about fostering.